Price paid: $ 187.74
Purchased from: The Groove
Sound — 9
The amp is shockingly loud for its size and sounds really big. More impressive is that it is dead quiet. JC clean is the clean channel and is based on the Roland Jazz Chorus amp. The clean channel is where this amp really shines. Sparkly and tight, very impressive when you add in a bit of the reverb. The second channel allows you to access one of six different effects. They are as follows: Tube drive - the most impressive of all the overdrives, it simulates a tube amp and allows you to control the amount of overdrive through the dynamics of your picking. Basically, the harder you attack the string the more breakup you get, just like a tube amp. Very authentic and as a tube amp fan a real treat. Metal stack - more low end than the metal setting, very big sound and quite thick. Plenty of harmonics and loads of distortion. My favorite setting for solos. Metal - high gain metal setting, much more high end than the metal stack setting. Once again, plenty of harmonic detail. I don't use this channel much as I find the metal stack setting to be a more rounded sound. Distortion - less gain than the previous two but excellent for rock and soloing. I use this quite often for hard rock/classic rock stuff. Overdrive - simulates an overdriven amp. Very thick and bottom heavy. I find myself using this the least of the bunch. Still, good for blues and rock. Acoustic - simulates an acoustic guitar. I like this a lot. It does sound a bit like an acoustic but I like it more for the fact that it gives you a second clean setting. You get that real poppy and metallic sound that you would get with an acoustic. Very nice! My only complaint is that there is a slightly noticeable hiss on this setting. Effects - they are split into two dials. One dial is for delay and reverb. The other dial gives you the choice of chorus, tremolo, phaser, and flanger. You can use two at once but only one from each knob. Basically, you can choose from delay or reverb on one knob, and one from the other four on the other knob. The delay and reverb are quite good. Delay has a decent range and succeeds in widening the sound. The reverb I really like and you can get a very wet setting with it. With the clean channel it sounds fantastic. The other dial is chorus/tremolo/flanger/phaser. I must say that from the four I only use the chorus occasionally. It has a sort of spacey and open sound. You do get a slight hiss sometimes with all of these four effects. I personally do not think that these effects are where this amp shines, though it is nice to have the versatility. They are decent but not the reason why I would buy this amp. The onboard EQ consists of your basic bass/mid/treble and is effective. It works sufficently in tweaking out the sound and I can't complain about it. The tuner is very cool and allows you to tune one specific string(by holding in the button first) or tune one after the other. It also cuts the sound out when activated so you don't tune for everyone else to. There is obviously a clean volume and a volume and gain dial for the second channel. The other option is the power squeezer, which I find very cool. When activated it drops the amp down to 2 watts but leaves the effects as if the amp is fully cranked. I use this all the time as you can get some wicked harmonics and sustain. I engage the power squeezer and then crank the amp up. This way you can let the amp scream without killing the neighbors. Even with it engaged though it gets quite loud. As mentioned above, there is an input jack, headphone/recording jack, effects/footswitch loop, and aux in jack that can be used to hook up an MP3 or cd player to play along to.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall this amp has astonished me. The range of sounds is amazing and the little guy is extremely versatile. For the price you simply can't pass it up. I have been playing blues and rock for 20 years off and on and have owned numerous amps, the majority tube amps. Recently I moved into a smaller apartment and I wound up selling all my amps because they were simply too loud. I needed a small amp for home use with recording capabilites and I found this. What really sold me on this amp was the clean setting and the tube Drive setting. Great stuff! If it were lost or stolen I would just buy another one because it's incredibly affordable. I don't know how Roland does it. It is worth noting that I tried out the entire line and the 20X was by far better than the 15 and 30X. The 15X lacked some of the effects and the tuner that is available on the 20X. The 30X sounded quite sterile in comparison to the 20X and for whatever reason the effects were much better on the 20X. The 60 watt version I didn't even try because that's too loud for what I need. Anyway, this amp has it all. Great little toy to have around the house. It doesn't get a 10 because, well, nothing gets a 10!
Reliability & Durability — 10
The cube is built like a rock. Very sturdy. They didn't pull any punches when they constructed it. It is very loud for twenty watts and, though I haven't cranked it all the way, it sounds good at higher volumes. Very dependable little amp for home and recording use. For gigging situations they do make a 30 and 60 watt version.
Features — 10
The Roland Cube 20X has a clean channel and a second channel where you can access 6 different distorion and simulated settings. A footswitch is available but sold separately. There is also a headphone jack that can also be used for recording and an effects loop jack for external effects as well as an aux in jack. The amp is a 20 watt solid state with various onboard effects(phaser, tremolo, delay, reverb, chorus, and flanger) as well as an acoustic simulator, 4 distortion/overdrive settings, and a tube Drive setting that simulates a tube amp. There is also an onboard tuner, 3 band EQ, and power squeezer that drops the amps wattage to 2 watts while maxing out the chosen effect so that you can let it rip without knocking the doors down.